Happy Giving Tuesday!

What a great way to kick of #GivingTuesday with a generous $20,000 donation from the Hoyt Foundation!

“We are thankful to have the support of the Hoyt Foundation.  Their continued partnership with our agency speaks to their generosity and their commitment to people living with disabilities,” said Mike Hyland, Venture President and CEO.  Funds from previous donations have been used to construct a multi-sensory room in the Sturbridge Day Program and also for adaptive yoga for people with disabilities.

Today, Venture Community Services is participating in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving.  We hope you might consider making you annual #GivingTuesday gift to support people with disabilities in your community!  Your gift can help provide valuable adaptive equipment, social and recreational opportunities, and so much more.  To make your gift, visit venturecs.org.

Since its founding in 2012, #GivingTuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in our communities.

Hoyt Foundation Donation 2016

Dick and Rick Hoyt Contribute $20,000 to Venture

Funds Will Support People with Disabilities Across the State

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Sturbridge – Venture Community Services, one of the Commonwealth’s leading providers of innovative human services, received a $20,000 donation from the Hoyt Foundation.  Hundreds of people with developmental disabilities supported by Venture will now have greater access to the opportunities they deserve thanks to this contribution.

Dick and Rick Hoyt, the famed father-son running team, made the donation to Mike Hyland, Venture President & CEO.  “We are thankful to have the support of The Hoyt Foundation,” said Hyland. “Their continued partnership with our agency speaks to their generosity and their commitment to people living with disabilities.”

Funds from previous donations have been used to construct a multi-sensory room in the Sturbridge Day Program and also for supportive and adaptive yoga for people with disabilities.

The Hoyt Foundation, founded by father-and-son team Dick and Rick Hoyt in 1989, helps build the individual character, self-confidence and self-esteem of America’s disabled young people through inclusion in all facets of daily life, including in family and community activities, especially sports, at home, in schools and in the workplace. Dick and Rick have run more than 1,000 road races together all across the world, including 30 Boston Marathons, inspiring countless people to achieve what they previously believed was impossible.

Venture Community Services is committed to providing compassionate, person-centered services that assist individuals and families in reaching their goals. What began as an organization with two small group homes has grown into one of the largest human service providers in Massachusetts, and with over 700 employees, one of the largest employers in the Worcester County area. Venture has been recognized as a Top Workplace by the Worcester Business Journal and as an Employer of Choice from the Employers Association of the Northeast.  Venture encourages independence through a continuum of support which includes community residential services, day programs, supported employment, transportation, autism supports, adult foster care, and shared living.

Caption: Dick and Rick Hoyt presented $20,000 to Venture Community Services on behalf The Hoyt Foundation.  The funds will support people with developmental disabilities and ensure they have access to the opportunities they deserve.  Pictured with the Hoyts is Mike Hyland, Venture President & CEO.

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Employer of Choice

We are pleased to announce that Venture has been selected as an Employer of Choice by the Employers Association of the North East.  Only two awards were given out this year from an applicant pool of companies and agencies based in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.  We were chosen based upon our employee recognition program that has been instrumental in motivating and connecting our more than 700 employees.  Also noted on our award selection was our Wellness Works program, educational resources, unique benefits and overall investment in our employees.

Over the past few years, Venture has re-energized its commitment to employee appreciation and well-being with many different initiatives.  We have worked to make Venture a fun, employee-friendly place to work with our newly remodeled break rooms, employee appreciation days, flexible work schedules, creative benefit options, tuition remission program, training opportunities, annual merit bonuses, staff barbecues, and more.  Our annual employee satisfaction survey is also used to make sure each staff member has an opportunity to share their thoughts, allowing us to better focus our efforts.

To view our video, click here.  Many thanks to EANE for this honor and for producing such a great video for us!

To learn more about employment opportunities with Venture, click here.

Let’s Move Forward

By Mike Hyland, President and CEO

The tumultuous election is finally over and a long night of watching is behind us.  What does that mean?  It doesn’t simply mean an election has come and gone.  It means we need to move forward with the business of our country.  For places like Venture and all similar agencies, that business is making sure that people who need help can get it.

The rancor of our political differences has reached an all-time high in the United States and the great danger in that is the lack of compromise between parties.  Certainly one area that we should all be able to agree upon is the need to support people through innovative and efficient programs.  Those living with developmental and intellectual disabilities, autism, major mental illness, and other needs must not be left behind under a new administration and a new Congress.  Over the past 40 years, this country has seen tremendous progress in the treatment and acceptance of those with disabilities.  This is especially true here in Massachusetts, where a series of administrations over the years has kept promises to honor the work done by human services agencies.  It’s important that this trend continue and that it be copied at the national level.

It is our responsibility to provide historically disenfranchised populations with opportunities that they have not previously experienced; and in many cases opportunities that they have been actively denied.  This includes access to the community, fair housing, jobs, recreational activities, and peer groups.  It also includes opportunities to grow in individual ways.  In lockstep with this mandate is an equally important responsibility to support the professionals who provide services to all of these groups.  This means funding that finally supports a genuine livable wage, access to affordable educational programs that enhance skills, affordable healthcare and recognition on a national level of the importance of the work being done and of the professionalism of those who do it.

The services provided by community-based agencies have ultimately replaced work that was once done in institutions and with far better results.  The positive economic impact of this has been staggering!  Hundreds of millions of dollars are saved annually by the provision of care through community-based agencies as opposed to facility-based care for those capable of thriving in local neighborhoods.  It’s time that we re-invest in these programs so that the people getting and giving support can keep moving forward with the rest of the country.

Pam Sampson Joins Venture Senior Team

Accomplished Human Services Professional Named as Vice President of Community & Affiliate Services

Sturbridge – Venture Community Services, one of the Commonwealth’s leading providers of innovative human services has announced the selection of Pam Sampson as its new Vice President of Community & Affiliate Services.  In this role, Pam will be responsible for division wide operations and service delivery oversight for 44 Community Residences, Shared Living, Adult Foster Care, In Home Supports and Affiliate Services.  She will be the primary business liaison to all outside stakeholders and will ensure the execution of deliverables associated with strategic initiatives for the department.

Pam brings over 25 years of professional experience to Venture and has strong history of management and oversight in the human services field.  She most recently served as the Regional Director for The Kennedy-Donovan Center’s New Bedford adult programs which included Shared Living, Adult Foster Care, Acquired Brain Injury, Individual Supports, Day Habilitation and Intensive Flexible Family Supports.  She also provided program supervision at locations in Milford and throughout Cape Cod.  Prior to her tenure at Kennedy-Donovan Center, Pam was employed with Alternatives Unlimited in Whitinsville and held various positions from Residential Counselor and Residential Coordinator to Director of Program Development for Community Based Day and Employment Supports.

“We are very pleased to have Pam join our Senior Management Team.” said Venture President & CEO Mike Hyland. “She brings extensive experience and leadership skills to our programs along with a commitment to our mission.  Pam will be instrumental in bringing forward innovative ideas and initiatives that will positively impact the agency and the individuals and families we support.”

Pam received a Graduate Certificate in Non-profit Administration and Finance from Suffolk University in Boston and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Business Administration from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

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Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Venture Community Services Awarded Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Day Programs in Sturbridge and Leominster Receive Recognition

Sturbridge – CARF International announced that Venture Community Services has been accredited for a period of three years for its Community Day Habilitation Programs located in Sturbridge and Leominster under the Community Integration Service model. The latest accreditation is the fourth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has awarded to Venture.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process that centers on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at www.carf.org.
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12th Annual Wine & Beer Festival

Thank you to everyone who made our 12th Annual Wine & Beer Festival a huge success, especially our co-host, Ted’s of Charlton.  Almost 200 guests enjoyed a variety of wine, beer, whiskey, cider, and mixed drinks from our vendors.  Many thanks to Hardwick Vineyard & Winery, Horizon Beverage, Commonwealth Wine & Spirits, Quality Beverage, MS Walker, and Atlas Distributing for offering excellent drinks and a friendly atmosphere to all our guests!

Attendees enjoyed free games, raffle prizes, a photo booth sponsored by Chloe Wines, and delicious food stations from Old Sturbridge Village, The Publick House, Ted’s of Charlton, and Cabot Cheese.  Live music by Andy DaRos and Laura Folker entertained guests while they browsed our silent auction, which featured many fall-themed gift baskets.

We are grateful for the support of local businesses, community partners, and individuals who contribute to the success of our fundraising events.  The proceeds from these fundraisers allow us to enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and other challenges in our community.  With many new projects on the way, these funds help us to expand our services and fill in funding gaps to provide the individuals we support with what they need to live fulfilling, independent lives.  We would especially like to thank our major sponsors for their generous contributions to this event: Starkweather & Shepley, TD Bank, Fallon Health, Forensic Risk Alliance, MDG Associates, Southbridge Savings Bank, and Dunkin Donuts.

Be sure to check out our Flickr page for photos of the event!  We hope to see everyone next year for the 13th Annual Wine & Beer Festival.


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